Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blackbirds Third Flight On Sale!

Blackbirds Third Flight is now available at 
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, Lulu, 
& other online retailers!
Enjoy these dark fantasies: 
➧ A dead girl asks one final question. 
➧ A young man rides a forbidden dragon. 
➧ With claw and fang, Malone will fight. 
➧ Justina Grave battles a dangerous witch. 
➧ A father faces his family's terrible secret. 
➧ The end of the world begins in a backyard. 
➧ A predator prowls on Halloween night. 
➧ Thunder Mountain will kill the careless. 
➧ Learn the final truth of the Tooth Fairy. 
➧ A wolf reveals the face of the true beast. 
     And much more in this anthology of thrilling tales and poetry from Kathy Akins, Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Michael Canton, D.E. Chandler, Erin Cochran, Gail Henderson, Mariana Llanos, Jean Schara, and Heath Stallcup.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Signing Slated

ADA—Ada Public Library will host a book signing for the new Many Rivers Harbor anthology Blackbirds Third Flight on Thursday, October 27, 4:00-6:30 p.m. The anthology features stories and poems from area author Kathy Akins, Ada author Stephen B. Bagley, Wendy Blanton, Michael Cantin, D.E. Chandler, Erin Cochran, Gail Henderson, Mariana Llanos, Jean Schara, and area author Heath Stallcup.

The signing will offer signed books, Halloween candy, special gift bags for the first 25 customers, giveaways, special pricing on the authors' other books, and author presentations. The book will also be on sale at that time for $12.  

Blackbirds Third Flight is an anthology of stories and poetry with a dark, adventuresome twist,” said Kyra Childers, Many Rivers Harbor associate editor. “The stories run the gambit from thrilling urban fantasy to fantastic encounters with mythical creatures. The book includes a new story in the Justina Grave Mysteries™ and a new dragon rider adventure in the World of Balphrahn. The poetry is dark, funny, and excellent.”

The authors featured in the anthology include:

Kathy Akins began writing when she retired from a 30-year career with the United States Postal Service. She has won several awards with her poetry, devotionals, and short fiction. A love for history, family, and animals touches her everyday life and inspires her story ideas and characters. She lives in Oklahoma and shares her home with miniature long-haired dachshunds and a rescued Catahoula. Her dachshunds assist her when she presents dog-related educational programs for children in her capacity as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Ambassador. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Stephen B. Bagley co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Gail Henderson in 2015. He wrote Murder by Dewey Decimaland Murder by the Acre. His other books include Tales from Bethlehem, Floozy and Other Stories, and EndlesS. He wrote the full-length plays Murder at the Witch’s Cottage and Two Writers in the Hands of an Angry God and co-wrote Turnabout. His poetry, articles, short stories, and essays have appeared in Writer’s Digest, ByLine Magazine, Nautilus Magazine, Pontotoc County Chronicles, Tulsa World OKMagazine, Free Star, Dark Prairies & Deep Rivers, and other print and online publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. He is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Visit his website at StephenBBagley.blogspot.com.

Wendy Blanton started writing when she learned to string words into sentences. She published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard, under the name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. Currently, she writes novels and short stories in several genres. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive, Mount Olive, North Carolina, and served on active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and specializes in telling Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues. She and her husband are members of the Clan Campbell Society of North America. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three rescue cats. Visit her website at wendyblanton.wordpress.com.

Michael Cantin is a poet and sloth fanatic residing somewhere in the wilds of Orange County, California. He writes fitfully between bouts of madness and periods of lucid concern. You can find him in dark corners where weird fiction and stiff drinks are most readily available. His poetry has appeared both in print and online publications. You can find his work in The East Jasmine Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, 50 Haiku, several anthologies, and other venues.

D.E. Chandler released her debut novel, Bone Sliver, in October 2015. In 2013, her poem, “Oppenheimer” and her short story “One Way Window” both won honorable mention and publication in Outside the Lines. In 2015, her poem “Carroll After Dark” won first place and publication in the Tulsa Review’s 2015 Spring contest issue. She is currently a senior at Rogers State University, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing and TV/Radio Broadcasting. She lives with her husband Tom on a beautiful lake in Oklahoma. Email her at tcmedia@hotmail.com or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Erin Cochran writes dark fiction including everything from classic horror to literary thrillers. Her love for the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, and later Stephen King, began early in life with bedtime stories from her dad and listening to Mystery Theater on the radio while nodding off to sleep. She has numerous short stories and offerings of dark poetry, as well as her first novella in the genre, Of Noble Blood. She lives on a homestead farm with her family and all manner of animals from a pet snake to milk goats. She is writing a collection of horror short stories based on mythology and a vampire novel, The Sang Fye of New Orleans. Connect with her on Twitter @ep_ferguson and Facebook.

Gail Henderson co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Stephen B. Bagley in 2015. She collaborated with noted photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography that explores the enigma of womanhood in the world. She wrote Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry published in 2013 under the name Gail Wood. Her work has also appeared in Blackbirds First Flight, Blackbirds Second Flight, Creations 2014, Creations 2013: 40 Ways to Look at Love, Creations 2012, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. Visit her website at RedbirdWoman.blogspot.com.

Mariana Llanos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She has written poetry and short stories since she was a young girl. Hoping to give a voice to the many characters that lived in her head, she studied Drama with the prestigious company Cuatrotablas, based in Lima. After moving to Oklahoma, Mariana worked as a preschool teacher, standing out for her creativity and passion for arts education. In 2013 she published her first book, Tristan Wolf. Now she has six titles under her name, four of those also in Spanish. Mariana visits schools around the world through virtual technology. She finds it to be a great way to reach children and spark their passion for reading and writing. Visit her website at marianallanos.com.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Central Texas. Since then, she’s been writing and helping her husband with the never-ending To Do list under the guidance and direction of their nine rescue cats. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University, Montgomery, with a Master of Science in Adult Education. In the summer, she is primarily occupied with yard work while her husband paints their Queen Anne Victorian home. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several short articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. Visit her blog at pmtoo.jeanschara.com/journal.

Heath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California, and relocated to Oklahoma in his teen years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Bangor, Washington, shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma, where he obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with the local sheriff’s office. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. His books includeWhispers, Caldera, Forneus Corson, and the continuing Monster Squad series: Return of the Phoenix, Full Moon Rising, Coalition of the Damned, Blood Apocalypse, Homecoming, Wayward Son, Obsessions, and Specters. Visit his website at heathstallcup.com.


Blackbirds Third Flight is available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Lulu.com, and other online retailers. For more information about the book, signings, and the authors, visit blackbirdsflights.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Last Day To Save 30%!

TODAY is the last day you can save 30 percent on Blackbirds Third Flight at Lulu! Soon the book will be at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, and other online retailers, and it will be up to them to offer discounts or not. So, if you were waiting, NOW is the time!
Use discount code: OCTSAVE30
ENDS TONIGHT, Monday, Oct. 10, at 12:59 PM

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Author Spotlight on Stephen B. Bagley

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Stephen B. Bagley co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Gail Henderson in 2015. He wrote Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre. His other books include Tales from Bethlehem, Floozy and Other Stories, and EndlesS. He wrote the full-length plays Murder at the Witch’s Cottage and Two Writers in the Hands of an Angry God and co-wrote Turnabout. His poetry, articles, short stories, and essays have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Blackbirds First Flight, Blackbirds Second Flight, ByLine Magazine, Nautilus Magazine, Pontotoc County Chronicles, Tulsa World OKMagazine, and other publications. He graduated from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Visit his website at http://StephenBBagley.blogspot.com.

Read his stories "The End Begins" and "Grave Fortunes" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Click here to buy! Save 30% thru Monday, Oct 10, by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Friday, October 07, 2016

Author Spotlight on Jean Schara

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Jean Schara retired from a 28-year career in the United States Air Force in 2008 and took up residence in Central Texas. Since then, she’s been writing and helping her husband with the never-ending To Do list under the guidance and direction of their nine rescue cats. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and of the Troy State University, Montgomery, with a Master of Science in Adult Education. In the summer, she is primarily occupied with yard work while her husband paints their Queen Anne Victorian home. She has had several book reviews published in the Air Power Journal and several short articles published in Vision: A Resource for Writers. Visit her blog at http://pmtoo.jeanschara.com/journal

Read her story "Malone Stakes A Claim" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Click Here to Buy! Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Thursday, October 06, 2016

Author Spotlight on Gail Henderson

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Gail Henderson co-wrote Undying, a collection of poetry with Stephen B. Bagley in 2015. She collaborated with noted photographer Michael Duncan to produce Bare, a book of poetry and photography that explores the enigma of womanhood in the world. She wrote Red Bird Woman, a collection of her poetry published in 2013 under the name Gail Wood. Her work has also appeared in Blackbirds First Flight, Blackbirds Second Flight, Creations 2012, Creations 2013:40 Ways to Look at Love, Creations 2014, and ByLine Magazine. She holds a Masters of Education in English and Social Studies from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. She and her husband enjoy life in beautiful Minnesota. Visit her website at RedbirdWoman.blogspot.com.

Read her poems in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Click Here to Buy!   Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Author Spotlight on Wendy Blanton

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Wendy Blanton started writing when she learned to string words into sentences. She published three fantasy novels, The Dragon’s Lady, Rogue Pawn, and Sword and Scabbard, under the name Elizabeth Joy with co-author Scott Carman. Currently, she writes novels and short stories in several genres. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Management from the University of Mount Olive, Mount Olive, North Carolina, and served on active duty for the United States Air Force for eight years. She is an apprentice bard and specializes in telling Celtic folk tales at Scottish Highland Games and other venues. She and her husband are members of the Clan Campbell Society of North America. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three rescue cats. Visit her website at http://wendyblanton.wordpress.com.

Read her story "Mage Hunt" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time.
Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Author Spotlight on Erin Cochran

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Erin Cochran writes dark fiction including everything from classic horror to literary thrillers. Her love for the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, and later Stephen King, began early in life with bedtime stories from her dad and listening to Mystery Theater on the radio while nodding off to sleep. She has numerous short stories and offerings of dark poetry, as well as her first novella in the genre, Of Noble Blood. She lives on a homestead farm with her family and all manner of animals from a pet snake to milk goats. She is writing a collection of horror short stories based on mythology and a vampire novel, The Sang Fye of New Orleans. Connect with her on Twitter @ep_ferguson and Facebook.

Read her story "Music of the Nightingale" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu for a limited time. Go Here to purchase!
Save 30% thru Oct 10 by using Lulu discount code: OCTSAVE30


Monday, October 03, 2016

Author Spotlight on D.E. Chandler

Later in October, we will mark the official release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

D.E. Chandler released her debut novel, Bone Sliver, in October 2015. In 2013, her poem, “Oppenheimer” and her short story “One Way Window” both won honorable mention and publication in Outside the Lines. In 2015, her poem “Carroll After Dark” won first place and publication in the Tulsa Review’s 2015 Spring contest issue. She is currently a senior at Rogers State University, in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing and TV/Radio Broadcasting. She lives with her husband Tom on a beautiful lake in Oklahoma. Email her at tcmedia @ hotmail.com or connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Read her poem "Corvus" and short story "Her Last Question" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu.com for a limited time HERE.
Save 20% thru today (Oct 3) by using discount code: SAVETODAY


Saturday, October 01, 2016

Author Spotlight on Mariana Llanos

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors. 

Mariana Llanos was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She has written poetry and short stories since she was a young girl. Hoping to give a voice to the many characters that lived in her head, she studied Drama with the prestigious company Cuatrotablas, based in Lima. After moving to Oklahoma, Mariana worked as a preschool teacher, standing out for her creativity and passion for arts education. In 2013 she published her first book, Tristan Wolf. Now she has six titles under her name, four of those also in Spanish. Mariana visits schools around the world through virtual technology. She finds it to be a great way to reach children and spark their passion for reading and writing. Visit her website at marianallanos.com.

Read her poems "Wolf" and "Bird" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu.com for a limited time HERE. Save 20% through Oct 3 by using discount code: SAVETODAY


Friday, September 30, 2016

Author Spotlight on Michael Cantin

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting stories and poems. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Michael Cantin is a poet and sloth fanatic residing somewhere in the wilds of Orange County, California. He writes fitfully between bouts of madness and periods of lucid concern. You can find him in dark corners where weird fiction and stiff drinks are most readily available. His poetry has appeared both in print and online publications. You can find his work in The East Jasmine Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, 50 Haiku, several anthologies, and other venues.

Read his poems "Tooth Fairy" and "Carcosian Love Poem" in Blackbirds Third Flight, now available exclusively from Lulu.com for a limited time. Click here to purchase!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Author Spotlight on Heath Stallcup

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting works. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Heath Stallcup was born in Salinas, California, and relocated to Oklahoma in his teen years. He joined the US Navy and was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Bangor, Washington, shortly after junior college. After his second tour, he attended East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma, where he obtained Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He then served ten years with the State of Oklahoma as a Compliance and Enforcement Officer while moonlighting nights and weekends with the local sheriff’s office. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and three of his seven children. His books include Whispers, Caldera, Forneus Corson, and the continuing Monster Squad series: Return of the Phoenix, Full Moon Rising, Coalition of the Damned, Blood Apocalypse, Homecoming, Wayward Son, Obsessions, and Specters. Visit his website at https://heathstallcup.com.

Look for his haunting short story "Rats In The Attic" in Blackbirds Third Flight coming soon!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Author Spotlight on Kathy Akins

October will mark the release of Blackbirds Third Flight, which features 10 authors and poets sharing dark, twisty, and exciting works. Here's a bit of info about one of our authors.

Kathy Akins began writing “for real” when she retired from a 30-year career with the United States Postal Service. She has won several awards with her poetry, devotionals, and short fiction. A love for history, family, and animals touches her everyday life and inspires her story ideas and characters. She lives in Oklahoma and shares her home with miniature long-haired dachshunds and a rescued Catahoula. Her dachshunds assist her when she presents dog-related educational programs for children in her capacity as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Ambassador. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

Read Kathy's story "Peril on Thunder Mountain" in Blackbirds Third Flight coming soon!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

If you love me

If you love me, if I love you...stop smoking.

Just stop.

I know it's your right to do so. I know you enjoy it. I know you think a cigar or cigarette or whatever won't hurt you. Or that you'll proudly take the risk, because you are free. But listen. Listen to me. LISTEN.

It's breaking my heart to watch my friends drag oxygen bottles around and to listen to you--you who once sang in choirs and shouted at football games--to listen to you struggle to draw a breath as emphysema and COPD steal the light from your life. I have watched too many friends die by cancer or heart disease. I have stood by too many coffins.

Don't leave me. Stay. Let's decide right now to stay here as long as we can. Let's live long enough to be a burden on society.

So stop. Stop now. Use enough patches to make yourself look like a quilted doll, sign up for every stop smoking program, use electroshock if you have to, I don't care what you have to do. Just stop.

And if I don't love you, do what you want. It's your life. But I bet you, too, have someone who loves you and you're going to break their heart.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Today was my birthday, and for me, it's the start of a new year of life. I like that my birthday is about halfway through the year. It gives me a chance to restart my New Year's Resolutions. They're, of course, the same as they were at the start of the year:

1. Lose weight.
2. Write more.
3. Pray more.
4. Meditate more.
5. Just be better.

The usual, in other words. Been reading various books about changing habits and using the Miracle Morning program, but so far, I haven't found my groove. For some people, they say, it takes longer to set good habits. I guess I'm one of those.

Not surprising considering the years I've spent enforcing and living bad habits. The ruts in my subconscious must be deep. Canyons by now. Got to continue filling them up with new better habits.

This coming month will be spent on Blackbirds Third Flight. Time to put the book together. I need to make significant progress next week. I may have to shelf the Today in Art project on Facebook I've been doing until BTF is in the place it should be. Priorities, you know.

Otherwise, it's the usual chores, doctors' visits, and life. What's going on for you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

To-Do

A friend has been calling from Barbados to brag about his amazing vacation. But today, I had to tell him that his house had been vandalized.

Really sad.

Must be sure to remember to go and do that later.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Goober

So I was terribly, terribly hungry and wolfed down my supper. It was hard to stop to give the food time to settle.

"Why am I so hungry?" I wondered. 

"Because you only had two cups of coffee for breakfast and no lunch, you goober," I answered back. 

"No need to get insulting; I was busy, and sometimes I forget to eat even though I know diabetics are healthier with keeping a meal schedule," I replied to me. 

"That's why I called me a goober, you goober," I said. 

Sometimes I'm just not a pleasant person.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Needs a sountrack

Watching the sunrise. Hmm. It's okay.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Help Wanted

I need a maid! And someone to clean my house, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Important question

Why is my coffee cup so empty? WHY? It's enough to make me doubt the good will of the universe.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Yikes

"I do have a set of lovely blue eyes. I keep them in a jar in the fridge." -- Bad first date

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Judge not less...

Just finished reading 142 writing contest entries. I'm supposed to be encouraging, but some of them need to be stopped. ‪#‎forthegoodofhumanity #grammar #spelling #storyflow #ohIamgivingup‬

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It's Time

Sometimes you just have to stand up to people and tell them to their face, "Despite everything, you're still loved." ‪#‎standourground‬

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rant 413

Rant start.

Just read a blog post in which the author said women who are overweight were "not motivated" to lose weight and would rather watch TV than exercise.

Ahem.

Since I can't punch the author in the throat, let me instead praise women with a bit of heft.

I know many larger women who raise children, who work jobs, who sing in their church and teach Sunday school, who enjoy life and laugh a lot, who volunteer at shelters and soup kitchens and food pantries, who write poems and books and songs, and who can cook a casserole that will break any diet. They worry about their appearance and they walk and they diet and they do their best, but here's the thing: None of us are going to get out of this life alive.

So if they choose to have that cupcake, they don't need their fellow women attacking them. They already have a society that's trying to say they have to be perfect, and it's almost more than they can bear.

If you can't support them, then get off their back.

Rant end.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The devil's correspondence

Dear Ex-girlfriend,
When you say you still love me after all the lying, stealing, and general badness, that means a lot...a lot of what, I don't know, but it's a lot of it.
Sincerely,
Me

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Often true

A rule of thumb that I have found often true: The phrase "I am not a racist, but..." is almost never followed by something I could imagine Jesus saying.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Not booking passage

In the new Star Trek trailer, they destroy the Enterprise...again. Is that three or four times now? That poor ship. Why would anyone sail on it? It's like the Titanic of space.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Wish List

I think I would like a self-driving car. It would be nice to be able to read or nap or watch a movie. People get upset when I do that now while driving.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Slow murder

Pinterest has been doing NOTHING except sending me diabetic UNfriendly recipes. Massively unfriendly.

I think Pinterest is trying to kill me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Plain speak

Well, a news organization has announced it was laying people off as part of an "expansion plan." Huh. If they expand more, they may not have anyone working for them. And that isn't called expansion; it's called "closing the doors."

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Query

And how be ye today?

Good?

Bad?

Upset that someone filled your house with happy chickens when you really wanted sad llamas?

Well, make do with your chickens. There are worse beasts in the world.

And they taste good fried!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Once in a yellow moon

I took this picture a while back with an old autofocus camera. Somehow, for a brief moment, it focused. Didn't do it in any of the other 30 shots. Go figure.


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Another scan of flowers


Saturday, June 04, 2016

A scan by any other name

This is actually a scan of a flower with the background (poorly) removed. I do like it, though.


Friday, June 03, 2016

Undying

Let me promote something here: Gail Henderson and I wrote a book of poetry last year. Gail is an incredible poet with a sharp eye for detail and imagery and a sharper grasp on language. I am honored to have poems appear beside hers. Here's the link to the book on Amazon: Undying


Thursday, June 02, 2016

GoT

I'm not sure I qualify for my GEEK membership anymore: I've never watched a single episode of Game of Thrones. I do play World of Warcraft though; perhaps that will allow me to keep my GEEK card.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Amazing Times

In lighter news: Amazon just sent me an email titled "Never Run Out of Toilet Paper Again." Apparently, I can have an Amazon Dash Button that I can press and they will ship toilet paper direct to my house. Hmm. Doesn't say if it will be delivered immediately or not. Maybe a drone would drop the shipment by, but who's going to bring it to my outstretched hand?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frustrating

Struggling with my health and all my projects wear me down. I know I'm not exercising enough. But I stay too tired to do much. And I often lack the will. The results seem so far off. I truly need to find a local exercise buddy, but the people I know either are much fitter than me or have no interest in fitness at all. Still, buddy or not, I need to be exercising no matter how bad I feel. Easy to type, but hard to do. The story of my life.

If things go according to plan--and we know what happens to the best laid plans--I should publish Floozy Comes Back in July of this year. That's what I'm aiming for. We'll see if I have enough material for the book. Without a weekly deadline, I have not produced as much humor as I have in years past. Something about a deadline--and a paycheck--kept me pounding away at the keyboard. While some of the columns produced during that time weren't that funny, many were.

My problem is willpower or lack thereof. No surprise there. Hard to whip myself or reward myself enough to keep me at the keyboard. That's getting better, but I'm not where I should be.

In other news, I've been looking around for software to ultimately replace Windows and Word. The latest version of Ubuntu has many good qualities, and perhaps if I spent a few weeks with it, I would become accustomed to its quirks and abilities. Right now, I don't have time or the desire to do so. Particularly with all these projects going on. Today was frustrating because I messed with Ubuntu for several hours and could never accomplish what I needed it to do. I'm sure it's possible, but I don't have the hours to spend. My energy is limited right now, and I can't spend it on what doesn't deliver, even though it might in the future.

Eventually, Microsoft will make me mad enough to change over. Their policy of "change for the sake of change" is endlessly annoying. They have design people, though, whose jobs depend on them making changes, even if those changes are necessarily productive or useful. The changes will keep coming. You'd think they would have learned from Windows 8, but the lessons don't seem to have stuck.

This week:
More chores. There are always chores to be done. Always.
More dieting. Low carb. Never craved bread as much as I do now.
More writing. Floozy Comes Back and Murder by the Mile are the two projects that are commanding my time and attention. And both deserve all I can give them.
More editing. I'm trying to edit a story for a friend. It's too long, but I don't want to cut the "flavor" of the piece.

Hope you have a great week! Talk to you soon.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tech can only take you so far

In years past, I coveted the newest tech, particularly writing programs and faster computers. The idea I had was that "if only I had that writing program (faster computer, larger hard drive, etc.) I would be a successful author." Or certainly more productive.

And some of that turned out to be true. Word processing programs (WordPerfect and Wordstar--remember them?) allowed me to write two of my books (Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre) faster and with less errors than my Smith-Corona electric typewriter. And as those programs added spelling checkers and formatting, they became even more useful. Eventually, Microsoft Word out-marketed them, and I switched and never looked back.

However, eventually you come to the realization that tech has done all it can do. Oh, there are some writing programs out there that offer options for writing in various forms, but they help you only be more productive if you're writing in the first place. They automate tasks that writers do more often than other people, like creating table of contents, indexes, etc. They don't write the book or screenplay or play. Tech only take you so far; ultimately, your success in writing--or in life--is up to you.

This realization was hard for me. For one, it took away my justification for the latest and greatest computer--I had always enjoyed upgrading for the speed and sheer geekiness of it. The second reason it was hard because it placed the onus for my success--or lack of--only on me. It was...painful.

Lately, I have been reading and re-reading Your Own Worst Enemy by Dr. Kenneth W. Christian. The book has the subtitle on the cover: "Breaking the Habit of Adult Under-Achievement." As I've worked my way through the book, I've seen myself in so many chapters. It's like he wrote the book for me; I wish I had read it in my twenties. Over the years, I've read dozens of self-help and self-improvement books, but none of them spoke to me the way this book has. I cannot recommend it highly enough for any creative person who is frustrated by how they sabotage their creative efforts.

While doing the exercises the book recommends, I've also been working on three writing projects. I will publish at least one book of my own this year and hope to do two. Your Own Worst Enemy has allowed me to push aside fears and self-limiting behavior. I hope it--or something else--can do the same for you when you're stalled in life.

And besides chores and doctors' visits, that's my life right now. I hope life is treating you well. It not...make it do so!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Publishing news

It's been a long frustrating day, but many things were accomplished, some of which probably shouldn't have been, but there you go. In good news, much planning has been going on for the anthology Blackbirds Third Flight. So far, we have authors Heath Stallcup, Wendy Blanton, Jean Schara, Gail Henderson, and myself in place. We are "wooing" three others who will add new perspectives to the annual anthology. I don't know how people produce a monthly magazine, though. Just getting this out yearly takes a lot of effort!

In personal news, I also wanted to tell you Floozy Comes Back is also on track for publication this year. Yes, another collection of my mishaps and adventures for people to enjoy. It's good to know my bruises and pain are a funny thing for people. But in a loving way, I'm sure. Sort of sure.

And just because I'm sharing writing news: The first five chapters of Murder by the Mile are being proofed. I haven't scheduled that book for publication this year, but it looks increasingly likely that this will be the year of three books for me. Can't promise it, but it looks that way.

Otherwise, I spend too much time at the doctor's office. I don't exercise enough, but I'm trying. Don't eat right, but I'm trying. Don't accomplish enough, but by golly and by dingo, I'm trying.

How are you doing?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Buying a phone and other terrors

I bought a new phone. Control your excitement. As always, switching from the old to the new caused great anxiety. The change was overdue as my old phone—Josephine—could only charge if you bent the plug in a certain way and often would reboot in the middle of calls. Of course, I had dropped her many times, so I’m not blaming the phone, but I would have been content to use her for years more. Alas, poor Josephine had met her Waterloo.

It would have been easier to select a new phone if there weren’t so many models. While selling insurance, I learned to never present more than three plans; too many choices confused customers and left them unable to make decisions.

I determined to not be overwhelmed. I had a plan. I had willpower. Wasn’t I able to reduce hardened telemarketers to tears? Wasn’t I capable of getting exactly what I wanted from restaurants? I marched confidently into the cell phone store. Thirty minutes later, I was draped across a counter surrounded by dozens of phones and calling plans while the evil salesman kept pulling out other options. Black, white, silver, green, hideously pink, red, blue, and purple phones. Large screens, small screens, big bezels, small bezels, less memory, more memory, 12 meg cameras, apps, apps, apps... Shattered, I left the store without buying a phone.

I decided I would have no cell phone. None! But my roomie said I had to have a phone at least for vehicle emergencies. (My car is getting old; there are fewer and fewer places to buy coal for it.) Although I told him I would start life anew wherever my car broke down, he insisted.

This time I went to the people I should have gone to in the first place: my roomie's children and their helpful spouses who do things with their phones that would get them burned at the stake as witches if cell phones had been around when witch burning was a town celebration. Finally, after much deliberation and even more complaining, I picked one, but the sale was over, so I thought I would have to start over. Everyone groaned, and there may have been some weeping.

Fortunately, phone companies have more sales than Wal-Mart. The phone I picked went on a sale at an even better price! I marched down to the store, and an hour later, I owned my very first smart phone with text, Internet, data plan, and more apps than I will ever use.

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I do like the phone, although I have discovered a few things about it that give me pause.

First, since my old phone had the text capacity of a telegraph, I rarely knew what was going. Crisis after crisis was solved with me never knowing about them since I couldn’t read group texts. Now, I’m in the know. To put in my two cents: I don’t think he’s cheating on you; yes, she dyes her hair; the llamas should be set free; he had his neck lifted; and you should see a doctor about that rash immediately.

Second, I’ve had to get used to actually carrying a phone. I rarely had my old phone unless I was in the car. In fact, it was rarely charged, but I had a car charger. Now, I have to keep track of it.

Third, I never worried about anyone stealing Josephine. Who would want the poor thing? And while my phone isn’t an iPhone®—I have not been assimilated by Apple®—it could be a target. More reason to keep track of it.

Finally, sales people are actually calling me on my cell phone. Of course, they rapidly learn that is unwise. And I shouldn’t really complain. There are few things finer than listening to telemarketers weep in the morning.

(Excepted from Floozy Comes Back by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sometimes

Sometimes the sun doesn't break through the thundering clouds.
Sometimes the cavalry doesn't arrive in the nick of time.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you lose.

God knows I've been there. At times, it's felt like I've lived there. Maybe I still am. Maybe when you've been defeated so many times, you start looking at defeats as the norm. It's the way of the world, you tell yourself. You adopt an ironic attitude with a drenching of fatalism and a sprinkling of desert dry wit. And what you dream...those are dreams for your next life.

I understand this. I know how easy it is to give up and how hard it is to go on when you've learned your dreams are too big and life is too hard. The wind breaks the butterfly's wings; the rain drowns the tiny scurrying hearts.

Still...it's not comfortable accepting defeat. You gain nothing by sitting there in your sorrows except the satisfaction of telling the world that you won't play anymore. It won't have you to kick around. You'll just withdraw. Take your toys and go home.

I guess, for some people, that's enough. The world beat them; they accept their defeat with grace and take pride in that.

But me...I'm stubborn. You're stubborn. There's nothing wrong with taking a break, catching our breath, having a bit of rest to recharge. But we have to get back out there. We have to face the wind and trek through the driving rain. Yeah, our dreams are big, but who wants small ones?

Remember, things don't happen to us; we happen to things. The world has teeth, that is true, but...friends, we got fangs.

(For CK)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Great Quote

"What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. ... Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon." -- Anne Lamott

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Time will tell

Had a productive day today. Very pleased with this. Checked a lot of items off my list.

Wish I could understand how this works. One day I am back in the groove, and then next day, I'm stumbling around again. Today I was in the groove and got a lot done. I would like to get several days like this in a row. That would be amazing.

In the past, I could do that. But for nearly three years, I have not. Perhaps the fact I get the groove days every now and then is a sign that I'm finally...finally...getting my mojo back. Don't want to get my hopes up...hope can kill you, you know...but the possibility is exciting. Perhaps I've finally turned the corner.

Time will tell.

And yeah, I'm hopeful, anyway. Sue me.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The sorts of success

Defining success is always a problem. It's easy to figure what the world defines as such: money, big house, fast car, party hardy, and so on. And I think, for some people, that is success for them.

It's harder when that isn't success to you. Of course, there is the non-material success where accomplishments are measured by how many yoga stances you can master and your hours of meditation and whether or not you've given everything to the poor and marched for every right that you can march for.

Between those lies a more fulfilling road. That of moderation suggested by Apostle Paul. Of having enough financial success to pay your bills and allow for an occasional luxury and having sufficient peace of mind and compassion to help those you can help and pray for the others. That middle road is, for me, the hardest, because it requires control. It requires thought. You have to behave as an adult even when you're being childish, if that makes sense.

It's a journey that I'm still just starting, looking to the horizon, and putting one foot in front of another. I'm not sure anyone arrives in this life, but the attempt, the journey, is one we should attempt if we want to leave the world better than it was when we arrived.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Cultivate your garden

I had a busy three days last week. Felt ill the first part of the week, but better on Thursday and worked around house, catching up on many chores that I was behind on. And so now I face another week that I must fill with things.

I'm going to try to fill it with writing. Chores, of course. A couple of appointments. But writing. I need to write. To define me again. To move forward. To embrace what's ahead of me and to keep the best of what's behind me.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater has always been the mark of an immature person. To not realize the good things you have while grabbing for what you think is better.... Does this make any sense?

Hucksters abound on the Net these days. They offer to sell the tips and secrets of an abundant life, a million dollars, perfect health, a glorious life where you rule the world. Maybe they hold sacred knowledge imparted from past gurus and mysterious cabals. I don't know. I can't judge. If what they say works for you...if it makes you happier, if it helps you grow, then go forth and conquer.

But...I have this suspicion that none of that can take place until you take the first step...until you decide to move forward. And then it takes work. Work, work, work.... I've not reached the point that Voltaire did in Candide, ou l'Optimisme where work is the only thing that makes life bearable, but I have reached the point where I don't believe in the free lunch, in the lie that we are owed anything by anyone, in the fear of the unknown in favor of the known present.

As Candide said at the end, "We must cultivate our garden." Wisdom in that, don't you think?

Have a good week in your garden of life.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Great Quote

"It’s time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens. But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce. It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published. (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion — your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, “Oh, you’re writing again? That’s nice. Do you have an agent?”)" -- Anne Lamott

Monday, January 25, 2016

"Our Personal Armageddon"

Our Personal Armageddon
By Stephen B. Bagley

In our personal Armageddon
no armies of glory marched.
No horned fiends with sulfur smiles
raised mailed fists against Heaven.
No Lucifer, no Michael met
with mighty thunderous blows.

The only beast, our dying love.
The only sword, our razor words.
The only flag, weary white.

Six months now have passed
since our marriage ended at Megiddo.
Today I surprised myself
by smiling at a woman I didn’t know.
I guess even after Armageddon
blades of grass eventually grow.

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

An Apology (sort of)

Dear Internet,

I've finally decided to stop blaming you for the sheer nonsense and vicious partisanship that fills up my feeds and is rampant on Twitter and Facebook. It's obvious some of my friends and most of the world are simply bat-weasel crazy.

I do think you might have helped make them that way. Or maybe you just gave them an avenue to unleash their inner imbecile. I remain deeply suspicious. I suspect our great great great grandchildren will look back on you as a blight on mankind--if any men still exist then.

However, this is an apology, however reluctant, for putting all the responsibility on your virtual shoulders. There are enough sins to go around.

Sincerely,

Me

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"Perfect"

Perfect
By Stephen B. Bagley

Once there was a perfect boy
who made perfect grades,
enjoyed perfect friends,
dated a perfect girl,
and lived a perfect life.

He grew into a perfect man
who had a perfect job,
raised perfect children,
resided in a perfect home,
and loved a perfect wife.

So we were perfectly shocked
when this perfect man
bought a perfect gun,
wrote a perfect note,
and shot himself one perfect night.

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dinosaur

I realize that I am a dinosaur, preferring cards and letters to email, actual physical contact to social media, and books to dubious Internet sources.

But before the asteroid of unrelenting and uncaring progress wipes me and the other few dinosaurs from the earth, I wanted to raise my head and roar my disapproval.

We may go down into that dark night, but we do not approve.

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Our Romance"

Our Romance
By Stephen B. Bagley

Not each other’s first love
or even each other’s second.
We both lived a life before
and carried the scars to prove it.

We did not love at first sight—
life would never be so neat—
you grimly committed to him,
and I determined to stay with her.

How we fell into each other’s arms
proved more to be a laugh there,
a shared moment here, a meeting
of minds and battered hearts.

Remember our sweet surprise
when this casual acquaintance
grew into a firm friendship
and deliciously something more.

Not each other’s first love
or even each other’s second,
but if fate is finally kind,
we will be each other’s last.

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.






Saturday, January 16, 2016

Good books!

Blackbirds First Flight 
Anthology - Enjoy chilling poems and dark tales in this collection from Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Jean Schara, & Tamara Siler Jones.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu
EndlesS
By Stephen B. Bagley
Poetry - Enjoy more than 50 sensual & moving poems, including the award winning "Non-Communion," "Torrent," & "Endless."
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Lulu

Floozy & Other Stories
By Stephen B. Bagley
Humor - Laugh at these hilarious tales from the author's decidedly different life.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by Dewey Decimal
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the librarian? Who's next to die and why? 1st in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Murder by the Acre (Second Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! New expanded edition. 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Lulu
Buy on Amazon

Murder by the Acre (First Edition)
By Stephen B. Bagley
Mystery - Who killed the ladies man? Bernard, Lisa & the chief are back! 2nd in Measurements of Murder series.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

Tales from Bethlehem
By Stephen B. Bagley
Inspirational - Have you ever wondered about everyone else in Bethlehem on the night of the Nativity? These charming and touching Tales will tell you their stories.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Undying
By Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson
Poetry - Enjoy a good shiver on a moonlit night with these thrilling, chilling poems.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble
Buy on Lulu

Friday, January 15, 2016

"High Maintenance"

High Maintenance
By Stephen B. Bagley

If I could somehow offer you
my heart on the proverbial silver tray
garnished with gold truffles
topped with a sprinkle of diamonds,
would it finally be enough?

Or perhaps I steal for you
the sweet hymn of heaven,
which only the archangels
have gloriously sung,
would you be satisfied?

Maybe even wrestle time itself
and plunder from its secret vault
the elixir of eternal youth
so age never touches your lush body,
could you be content then?

But the more important question may be
if I could do these wondrous things
if such miracles I could bring forth
as easy as buttering your bread,
why oh why would I waste them on you?

From Undying, a poem of poems by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Relentless

"Define yourself in one word," I was recently asked.

Usually I don't have an answer, but my perceptive friend Gail Henderson has an adjective for me that I think fits better than most simple summations. She calls me her "relentless" friend. And I will claim that.

Relentless.

What success I've had in life, in publishing, in writing, is because I lower my head, grit my teeth, and keep on keeping on, swallowing the disappointments, the heartaches, the sorrows, the insults, the disregards, the sideways cuts...

Yeah, that means sometimes I tilt at windmills that really are dragons, but even if I go down, I will go down fighting, and the opposition is going to be really, really, really tired.

Relentless me. I like it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Finish that sentence

"The more I work with people, the more I want to..." Finish that sentence if you dare.

Possible replies:
-- crush them beneath my booted heel.
-- create a global disaster and start over with a race of intelligent hamsters.
-- retreat to a beautiful island filled with only the people I approve.
-- love them until they are wracked with guilt about the way they behave and then withhold forgiveness.
-- ignore them until they fade from my perception.
-- a combination of several of the above.

Or ... write your own and share.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Advice from the front line

Try not to burn any bridges that you might need to cross again. And even if you think you would NEVER cross that bridge again, life is long and loves to break our certainties.

In my life, I have burned and even blown up bridges that I deeply regret. Bridges that I have wept over afterwards because of my short-sighted foolishness and pride.

Crossing a swift river without a bridge is cold and wet and even dangerous to your heart.

You can rebuild bridges. It takes a lot of effort and time and willpower. You can do it. If you have to. But it's a WHOLE lot of work. Try to avoid the necessity.

Just a bit of advice from the front lines.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lunch

For lunch I'm having this huge 4-egg omelet filled with mushrooms, ham, and cheese.

And by huge, I mean diabetic potion sized.

By ham, I mean turkey.

By cheese, I mean low fat cheese.

By egg, I mean egg substitute with no carbs or cholesterol.

Look, it's yellow and lumpy.

Let's go with my first thought.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wish I had said it first

I just wish I had said this first:

"The problem with today's world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it. The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!" -- Professor Brian Cox

Saturday, January 09, 2016

If only I could

If only I could stop loving you
my life would be better now
in more ways than I can imagine.

If only I could forget
the taste of your lips,
your face as you slept,
those blue, happy eyes,
the silly way you smiled,
I wouldn't feel so empty now.

If only I could stop hurting
when I recall those days
of loving and laughing
and yes even fighting,
crying, and arguing--
I wouldn't flee from love now.

If only I knew you, too,
had regrets when you
think of me--if ever
you do--and missed
me and our flawed love,
I could finally begin to heal.

If only you read these words
I'd know you'd finally know
I still carry the memory of us
and it's breaking my back
because you lack the courage
to share this heavy burden.

In more ways than I can imagine
my life would better now
if only I could stop loving you.


Friday, January 08, 2016

Bad concept

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, going on now, Samsung introduced yet another "Smart Refrigerator." Listen, it's not going to be really smart until it locks itself when I'm a diet.

Smart fridges are introduced every year, it seems, but they never take off. The public doesn't want that type of tech in their fridge.

I know why Samsung made it -- fridge sales have been flat for several years now. They want fridges to be exciting, sexy, a must buy. It's not going to happen. They keep thinking if they add enough features, people will cough up $5,000, but the problem isn't the features; the problem is the concept.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

"Blackbird"

Blackbird
By Stephen B. Bagley

Your words fall
like razor shards of glass
uncaring of
my black pain
my bloody wounds
my black sorrow.

But I rise
like a blackbird in flight
soaring above
your small mind
your sly voice
your puffed ego.

I see you
only as a tiny figure
on a distant horizon
farther away daily
a fleeting glimpse
fading into nothing.

From Undying by Stephen B. Bagley & Gail Henderson. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Island

I do understand the impulse to gather up your family and closest friends and head for a deserted island where you rebuild civilization in your own image. After all, it's pretty clear that the world isn't going to do what you want, so why shouldn't you withdraw? The problems are huge; you are tiny. What's the point of doing anything when what you do is a dust mote in a tornado?

A lot of people feel the same as you do. They do. You can find other motes out there, tiny particles who have your faith, morals, and ideas. You can find those people and join up. You can become a fortress. Or a storm. I don't know.

The only thing I do know is that if we do nothing, then nothing will be done. Up to us.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Wish I had said this first

I just wish I had said this first:

"We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know." -- W. H. Auden

Monday, January 04, 2016

Book Review: "Empire of the Summer Moon"

I have been meaning to recommend this book for a week or so: Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne.

I don't like history in general, but this book was gripping and exciting as it detailed the battle between the Comanches and the United States. It doesn't shy away from the atrocities committed by both sides and deftly and clearly explains the tensions and politics within both sides, which led to this war.

Woven in this was the fascinating and sad story of Cynthia Ann Parker, a white girl taken by the Comanches when she was nine and finally -- unhappily -- "rescued" when she was an adult. Her son, Quanah, would become the first and only Principal Chief of the Comanches and would fight the last battles with the U.S. before becoming a powerful force for Native American rights.

A friend loaned the book to me, but I liked it so much that I bought a copy from Amazon. It's no wonder the book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Highly recommended -- even to those that dislike history.